Before the StyleCaster Weight Loss Challenge began, my diet was neither good nor bad. I didn’t eat junk food, but I also wouldn’t choose a garden salad over a good hamburger. I was concerned that I would have to forgo all of the things I like and eat vegetables for three months. But during my first meeting with Marissa Lippert at Nourish NYC, we talked about ways to restructure my eating habits rather than overhauling my diet.
We identified two issues that I needed to adjust in order to enhance my diet. First, I needed to increase my vegetable intake. When asked about the last time I ate vegetables, I mentioned the tray of dry carrots and celery I ate with my buffalo wings the prior weekend. Marissa suggested that I make sure that vegetables make up half my meal during dinner. The conversation turned to examining different vegetables, their health benefits and different ways I can prepare them so they will taste better. We discussed ways to make broccoli, a veggie with high nutritional value. Steamed broccoli may offer more health benefits to the body than raw broccoli it also tastes infinitely better. Broccoli has become a staple of my diet sometimes I steam it, sometimes I use it in stir-fry with other vegetables, but I always make sure to get at least one serving of broccoli for lunch and/or dinner. After my workout, I will also have kale salad, which offers many of the same benefits as broccoli.
Second, we discussed portion control. Marissa produced a set of serving cups, and proceeded to go through various foods and how many cups (or 1/2 cups) I should be eating for lunch or dinner. Portion control was and remains the most difficult part of my fitness makeover. Fortunately, after a couple weeks my stomach shrank so I am able to feel full after eating less food than my previous diet. While I feel willpower is still a huge part of portion control, incorporating the right kinds of food can make me feel full and allow me to reduce my daily caloric intake.
About four weeks into the weight loss challenge, I came up against my first major diet ordeal.
It was Thanksgiving Day and I had just polished off a pile of food that rivaled the Great Pyramid of Giza. Turkey (light and dark), oyster stuffing, squash casserole, brussel sprouts with bacon, creamed onions, cranberry sauce I felt stuffed, tired and not the least bit hungry. But after a while my mind wandered to the cornucopia of calories in the kitchen, and after a polite but oddly lengthy conversation over the merits of offering sausage-stuffed turducken in place of the traditional roasted turkey, I decided to stroll into the kitchen under the pretense of getting another glass of water (my apritif du jour).
I was greeted by 8 different pies (pumpkin, cherry, pecan and apple), pumpkin and vanilla ice creams, some sort of caramel brownie dessert and enough leftovers from the dinner to feed 20 hungry people. This is where willpower is important for my diet. Eating modest portions of the right foods has been a huge part to maintaining my diet. But stuffing ones face until painful discomfort ensues is the hallmark of Thanksgiving dinner.
My solution incorporated both portion control and willpower. First, I grabbed a very small plate (tea cup saucer is more appropriate) and took a sliver of pumpkin pie, cherry pie and a cup of coffee. I was able to try out dessert without the temptation of eating two large slices.
While I would have liked to walk away from the pies, I feel a successful part of a healthy diet is being able to enjoy a bit of excess on occasion, so long as the occasions are infrequent. My first (and only) trip to the food line resulted in a large plate, but compared to the multiple trips I usually take, one plate of food on Thanksgiving is a positive step.
Campbell’s Current Measurements: